Creating a new modular email system for their new brand.
Insurance giant State Farm had launched its new brand campaign, Here to help life go right, and wanted to evolve their system of email communication to fit the new campaign as well as drive up engagement. My Creative Director and I were given the opportunity to rethink how State Farm should structure their emails for the future.
The timeline was tight, and thus we had to limit our research to what data we’ve been collecting for several years on State Farm’s email campaigns, as well as diving into much of the best practices we’ve seen in email campaigns.
For the longest time, State Farm’s emails followed a formula of a simple hero image with a headline, body copy, supporting copy to the body copy, and then a section to show your local State Farm agent as well as tertiary links and links to State Farm on social media.
Using analytics data from previous emails sent, as well as best practices, we made these key findings about State Farm’s emails:
Our start in rethinking State Farm’s emails came in with the content. With the client wanting to see results quickly, we created a few tests of a current State Farm email versus one with the content drastically reduced. We took on rules of headlines no longer than 8 words, and body copy no longer than 3 sentences. We also removed all secondary content and managed to get the client to remove the social media links, as they did not want to remove any tertiary links. Still, the main CTA was clear as a button, while tertiary links were small and blue.
Testing showed that reducing the content paid off. We saw a 15% rise in engagement in the more brief and focused emails. This allowed us to set those rules as our new standard for State Farm emails moving forward, but we were not finished.
Our next step was to build a wireframe for a modular system that could be used to build almost any kind of email State Farm would want. While we wanted to keep the emails as brief as possible, the client still desired to have the option for secondary content, and wanted the tertiary links kept.
After feedback and revisions internally, I was ready to make illustrated results for the client, showing both the modular system and an example of how it could be used.
The hero image was enlarged so a headline and initial CTA could be placed within, as well as thinking of how this will work in smartphones as much as laptops. All the content we wanted the recipient to focus on was kept in white, while shades of gray were used to separate the referred State Farm agent as well as the footer from the main focus. Those tertiary links were also placed in the footer so as to fulfill the client request, but not to take away from the primary message.
The number one takeaway out of this project is that email should be brief and focused. Unless you’re sending out a newsletter, you’ll get better results out of a simple focused email versus a lengthy one that’s trying to hit too many points.
We also found recipients generally aren’t interacting with many of the links clients are eager to place into an email. Granted, there’s always the thought of using those links as “second chances” to grab a recipient if the primary message does not, our test results have shown most of the time they are generally useless and should be removed, or at least reduced in number and prominence.
Much of our findings have now become the new standards in how we approach email campaigns, and the client has brought most of our work to their own final email templates.